A House Armed Services Committee panel will take up the issue of racial injustice within the military this week as committee leaders continue to push for top Pentagon leaders to testify on the Defense Department’s response to ongoing nationwide racial demonstrations.

On Tuesday, the committee’s panel on military personnel will host a hearing with top legal officials from each of the services as well as outside advocates on racial disparities within the military justice system.

Unlike most House hearings currently forced online by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the hearing will be held in person on Capitol Hill.

Committee officials are still waiting to hear whether Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley will testify in coming days on the use of military forces by the White House to respond in recent weeks to protests prompted by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who prosecutors say was murdered by a white Minneapolis police officer during an arrest last month. Four officers have been charged in connection with the death.

Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., had said he would push Esper and Milley to appear before lawmakers earlier this month, but so far the Defense Department leaders have declined.

Tuesday, June 16

House Homeland Security — 12 p.m. — online hearing
DHS resuming operations
Union officials will testify on obstacles to the Department of Homeland Security resuming normal operations after the coronavirus pandemic.

House Armed Services — 12 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Military justice racial disparities
The personnel subcommittee will hear from top service legal officials about racial issues within the military justice system.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — online hearing
Arms sales
Outside experts will testify on goals and benefits of current U.S. arms sales arrangements with Middle East countries.

Wednesday, June 17

House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — online hearing
Diversity in the State Department
Outside experts will testify on ways to promote diversity within the state department.

Thursday, June 18

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
The committee will consider the nominations of Lt. Gen. Daniel Hokanson to be chief of the National Guard Bureau and Gen. Gustave Perna to be Chief Operating Officer of Project Warp Speed.

Senate Foreign Relations — 9:30 a.m. — 106 Dirksen
Pandemic preparedness
State Department officials will testify on U.S. international pandemic preparedness in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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